The Political System of the Republic of Turkey, Past and Present
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The first constitution of the Ottoman-Turkish Empire was adopted in 1876 – the Kânûn-ı Esâsî (Eng. Fundamental Law). In its history, Turkey has had four constitutions. They were adopted in 1921, 1924, 1961, and 1982, with the latter being presently in force. Nowadays, the creation of a new constitution is the main issue on Turkey’s political agenda. The government of Turkey and Mr. Recep Tayyip Erdogan want to amend the constitution, and envisage creating an executive presidential system (Tur. Başkanlık sistemi), similar to that of the Russian Federation and the United States. Critics are concerned about what Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s motivation may be. This article analyzes the historical roots of the constitution, its amendments, the presidential system in Turkey and the arguments of the Republican People’s Party (CHP) and Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) against the adoption of a presidential system. The key issues that the authors address are the changes that could be made under Turkey’s new constitution and whether all political power would be concentrated in president’s hands.
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